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Pass rate in Scotland slightly down as students get results after one of ‘toughest academic years’

Written by on 10/08/2021

Fewer students in Scotland have passed their Highers and National 5s than last year despite exams being cancelled for a second time due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In total 87.3% of pupils achieved an A to C grade in their Highers, compared to 89.3% in 2020.

There was also a lower pass rate for Advanced Highers – 90.2% this year compared to 93.1% last year – and National 5s – 85.8% this year compared to 89% last year.

But despite being lower than last year’s, the 2021 pass rate is higher at all levels than it was before the pandemic in 2019.

Live updates as students receive their A-level results

National 5s are the Scottish equivalent of GCSEs, while pupils take Highers and Advanced Highers in their last two years of school.

Results this year were based on teachers’ judgment under a system called the alternative certification model.

More on Scotland

A similar teacher assessment scheme was put in place in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, but grades were overwhelmingly higher there.

Scottish education secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said they were a “strong set of results… achieved under extraordinary circumstances”.

“It’s been one of the toughest academic years we’ve ever known, with the pandemic throwing significant challenges at our young people.

“So, to have this many learners receiving certificates and for the number of passes at Higher and Advanced Higher to be so high is incredible.”

 Sky News

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